Some pregnant women may experience difficulties during a natural vaginal delivery and may require some assistance.
Assisted vaginal delivery, also known as instrumental delivery, may occur for the following reasons:
There are two types of assisted vaginal delivery, namely, forceps delivery and vacuum extraction delivery.
An assisted vaginal delivery usually requires the presence of several medical professionals such as, your obstetrician, nurses or midwives, and a paediatrician. Just like a vaginal delivery, an assisted delivery will only work once your cervix has dilated to 10 cm and your baby has descended into the birth canal.
Pain relief medications such as an epidural or local anaesthesia will be administered, and a catheter may be inserted to drain your bladder to ensure that there is enough space for your baby to pass through the birth canal. An episiotomy or a cut of the perineum may be required to reduce the risks of severe tear.
These are the steps of an assisted delivery:
If your baby cannot be delivered safely by instrumental delivery, you will be advised to have a Caesarean section (C-section).
In general, assisted vaginal delivery, if can be safely performed, is preferred over a C-section as there is a shorter hospital stay and a reduced need for future C-sections. A C-section in the late stage of labour is a more complex operation than a planned C-section and in some circumstances may increase the risk of harm to both you and your baby.
An assisted delivery is associated with the following risks:
However, most babies delivered by assisted vaginal birth are well and do not have any long-term problems.
There are some pregnant women who are not suited for an assisted delivery, this is especially true in the following circumstances:
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